IBI ZOBOI Profile picture
Feb 22, 2018 16 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I absolutely love that #BlackPanther is bringing Pan-Africanism into the national dialogue. This is the hill I'll die on so I'm gonna share some things & connect them to children's books & education. THREAD!
Pan-Africanism, to me, means connecting to the struggles of people of African descent all over the globe. Not limiting awareness to just American racial politics.
Our kids are so excited about #BlackPanther but their understanding of Africa & Pan-Africanism shouldn't be relegated to fantasy. We've had our own IRL T'Challas & Killmongers, & even Dora Milajes.
To truly empower black kids in this country, show them what it means to be black in the world. Give them a global context for their existence. Move beyond slavery, civil rights, & police brutality. Show them both thriving & struggling African & Caribbean nations.
We love Martin & Malcolm, of course. But what abt Marcus? There are virtually no mainstream pub'd children's books abt Marcus Garvey & the Back to Africa Movement & the Black Star Line. Why not? Malcolm's parents were Garveyites.
We love our children's books about slavery, of course. But what about the books that show us what happened to our brothers & sisters on the other side of the ocean. Ann Grifaleoni & Kadir Nelson's THE VILLAGE THAT VANISHED does just that.
The Sabar drum comes from Senegal & the drumbeat rhythm was all throughout #BlackPanther. What if we taught our children about the incredibly complex & scientific world of African drumming? It would move hip-hop & music in general to another level.
What our young people are doing w/ music & dance is instinctual, ancestral even. But if they knew that this comes from a world where people studied how rhythms affect the body, sets the tone, & even shifts a collective mindset... Gamechanger. Hip-hop is an ancient science.
Our technology isn't just about machines & robots. Our science is magic, and our magic is science. Colonizers couldn't wrap their tiny brains around this. Which is why astronomers are still baffled by the Dogon people of Mali. Our budding scientists should now about the Dogon.
So grateful for @Nnedi's books: African spiritual science, technology, & badass African girls. We need more stories like this to help our kids unpack the languages, the world view, & the history of all of Africa.
What does black boyhood look like globally? Much like the half-truths about gangstas & drug dealers, they're not all child soldiers you know. @LeahsMark ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is a beautiful portrayal of boyhood in Senegal.
One of the ways I instilled pride in my children was by shaping their aesthetic; allowing them to see blackness in a different light. I own 3 copies of this beautifully illustrated picture book & I've framed some of those pages.
A Wakandan equivalent would be a tie btwn the Yoruba of W. Africa & the Zulu of S. Africa. But the Yoruba Orisha tradition has lasted so long to evolve into Vodou, Santeria, Candomble, & Palo. And part of the mythological world of the biggest books of 2018! @tomi_adeyemi
I was saving this one for last, but there is a YA novel coming out this fall that blew my mind! I have so much respect for @GibneyShannon & her editor @andrewkarre for tackling this important topic. Especially now. Add DREAM COUNTRY to your TBR list! goodreads.com/book/show/3768…
During slavery, there were those of us who sought out a #Wakanda & freed black people were given the opportunity to go back & resettle in what is now known as Liberia. Our children need to know this story.
I love this graphic novel series so much! I'll read this from cover to cover & all is right with the world. The story, the illustrations, the characters all shape our understanding of global blackness and Africanness. I need this to be a movie starring @Lupita_Nyongo.

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More from @ibizoboi

Sep 22, 2018
This is an insulting review from a major publication (@WSJ) by a very problematic reviewer, Meghan Cox Gurdon. So I’d like to review her review as an example of the “classical narrative tact” she was looking for in my book.
The first indication that this review has not gone through any sort fact-checking protocol is its inaccurate use of the word “Afro-Caribbean”. Nowhere in the novel are any of the characters referred to as Afro-Caribbean.
The reviewer has intentionally erased & undermined the descriptor “Afro-Latin” despite it being on the flap copy & despite its pervasive use in the media, including @WSJ.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 15, 2018
Ok. I'll get this off my chest. So this is for those who are still in the querying trenches. Story time! So. The very last time I cried about getting rejected... #ShareYourRejections
...was actually for a contest. I didn't win Tu Book's New Vision Award. It was the first contest specifically for diverse sci-fi/fantasy middle grade or YA. I was doing an MFA & I was exhausted. I mean, sick & tired of the whole querying process.
*Some* agents can be downright disrespectful & dismissive. I was ready to call it quits & go for a PhD & become a ruthless kidlit activist & scholar. But winning that contest would be a straight shot toward publication. I didn't care about $. I needed to get through the door!
Read 8 tweets
Jun 19, 2018
Every school & library visit I've done this past year, I have them do this:

1. Raise your hand & wave from side to side if you were born in another country. Now look around.

2. ...if at least one parent was born in another country.

3. ...a grandparent, great-grandparent...
I have them look around the room each time a new set of people raise their hands. I tell them that I'm trying to see if everyone in the room will raise their hand. Most times, yes.
Then I tell them about that one time in a Vegas middle school, three children did not raise their hand. They were Native children.
Read 6 tweets
Jun 12, 2018
Thank you @LatinxinPub & @Sj_Fennell for acknowledging my Afro-Latinidad. Latin America includes Spanish-, French-, & Portuguese-speaking countries. So Haiti is technically a Latin country, so is Brazil.
Latin languages = Romance languages, which also includes Italian.
Excluding Francophone Caribbean countries & Brazil (which has the largest population of African descendants outside of Africa) from anything having to do with Latin America is anti-blackness.
Read 4 tweets

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